Starting new things means taking risks. After all, it is risky to move out of our comfort zone and into the world of personal transformation. As an example, I am starting a new web-based business aimed at helping doctoral students finish faster. This is risky, because the universities that currently employ me may, at times, see this work as a conflict of interest, although it is not aimed at their students but rather the rest of the doctoral environment.
Businesses spend thousands of dollars training people in change management, yet there is comparably little time or energy invested in training people to use the power of their mind in order to: a) get over their fears, and b) create transformational change. When I came up to the situation that created such fear it stopped me in my tracks I searched around wildly for how to handle myself and it. This article will discuss four steps that have recently proven themselves as I worked through that situation.
Step Number One: Don’t React Right Away
The smartest thing I did when I got an email telling me to stop what I was doing, was to remember that fear kicks in an adrenaline response. Unless you are in a situation that is literally life-threatening, it is likely to do more harm than good to react out of your first response. Some say “feel fear and do it anyway” but to me that is only half of the prescription. The other half is to move to where you are in full control and are acting out of the highest level of your being. That is not your defensive self. In my story, my first reaction was to respond to the e-mail by saying, “No, no that’s not me! And besides, you don’t have any right to tell me what to do anyway,” or the adult equivalent of those phrases. Luckily I waited.
Step Two: Watch Your Mind Chatter
My mind was chattering, as of course it would be when adrenaline was rushing and I was filled with fear response. In the worst case scenario this situation caused a severe loss of income prior to my being able to build my business to that same level. Then I remembered Kelly Howell and her mind sync technology. I love her tapes, especially the universal mind meditation, which helps me remember that I have access to the full power of all the positive thoughts in the universe. Much like prayer to a religious person, this way of thinking opens me up to the sheer humanity of all other and brings peace to my heart.
Controlling your mind chatter is not an easy process. It wasn’t as though I put on the tape one moment and was instantly cured and able to respond perfectly to the situation. No, it was rather that I calmed my mind enough for an initial response, and that I fought the demon of fear for the next 18 hours. After a fretful night’s sleep, I was finally able to calm down the next day. Without having some positive viewpoint running in my brain, trying to counteract the fight or flight reaction, it would’ve been much more likely, that I would have given in to actions that would not have been in my best interest.
For me, stopping a defensive reaction when my mind is chattering with fear is a difficult task and one that needed outside help. I used the tapes, but you might find something else helpful. You could talk to a supportive and non-reactive friend, say a prayer or meditate, go for a walk or work out, etc. All these activities are meant to force your mind back into the here and now and out of your fear.
Step Number Three: Look for the Transformational Idea
Next comes the truly remarkable truth about personal transformation. It often comes at the end of a tense or stressful moment. I remember an exercise in graduate school, where we passed a spoon around the room over and over and over again. The task was to say something unique about this spoon that had not been previously addressed. You can imagine how difficult it became, as we all made small changes to previous thoughts until all avenues appeared to be explored. That is when breakthrough happened, several completely unique and creative possibilities came up and we went on another round. What I learned from that exercise was that if you can just hold out through tense places, our minds are hardwired to tap us into innovation and creativity after holding on to stress. In this recent story, I realized that one way to avoid conflict of interest was to sell my work and the ability to use the website to small proprietary universities as any consultant sells their services. Next time the question comes up, I will suggest that.
Step four: Trust in yourself/your ability and take steps towards the transformation
Finally, the degree to which any of us can use the power of our minds to create personal transformation, let alone get past the huge fear-based reaction in good style, is largely dependent on how much we believe in ourselves. I have had a lot of successes, they balance the disasters. Being a driven, entrepreneurial woman I have taken risks, some foolhardy. Fortunately, more often than not they have either paid off, or at least not gotten me in as much trouble as they could have.
I don’t know what your situation is, or whether or not you have only had hard knocks. But, generally I believe, that our lives are formed by how we see them. Therefore, trust in yourself and your ability to take steps towards transformation. Even when faced with a completely fearful situation, this trust will see you through.